Over the New Year weekend a plan was hatched to have an impromptu Light Line Comp....and so, on the first Monday of January 2011, eleven brave souls from both Cobh SAC and Crosshaven SAC departed early in the morning (....well, actually not so early after all).
Three boats set off from East Ferry Marina; Dasher Doyle, Sandra Anne, and Eva. Sandra Anne, with Cobh SAC Master Angler, Danny Kane, Club Treasurer, Pat O' Shea, and Ger Keohane headed straight for the Ling Rocks. The other two boats, Dasher Doyle and Eva, with Martin Perryman, Frank Burke, Martin's brother, Arthur Kavanagh, Ruud Boelhouwer, Gerard Richardson, Greg Manning, and Tony Maguire, opted for the Smiths instead. It was bittingly cold with temperatures hardly getting above 4 degrees, but with very little wind it didn't feel that bad at all. In fact it was almost calm, which made the trip out to the Lings fairly comfortable compared to normal.
As our expected quarry was expected to be bigger than the normal stamp of fish encountered in the light lines a concession was made; main line was to be no more than 15lb but rigs and snoods could be heavier. On our boat, Sandra Anne, Ger Keohane got off to a great start. On a cliff-face mark north of the Lings themselves Ger started clocking up the species, bringing in pollack, whiting, and pouting in quick order. To put a stop to his gallop we moved onto the Lings proper!!!
Here we were into a better stamp of fish; Ger and Danny fishing bottom rigs started bringing in ling. Both landed fish to 9lbs. Pat stuck at the gilling alternating between shads and jellyworms. On both set-ups he was landing pollack on every second or third drop. The better fish seemed to fall for shads, though, and most were around the 6lb mark. To try for variety (and clock up species points) Danny dropped his hook and bait size. Soon enough, a number of ballan wrasse and cuckoo's were swung onboard.
With the number of ling coming onboard Ger Keohane was convinced that a mark of his, east of the Smiths, would produce bigger fish. With an hour of daylight left we decided to give it a shot. It produced bigger fish alright, but not the expected ling; Pat managed a fine pollack of 9 1/2lbs...the biggest fish of the day. A few ling were landed, but they were smaller than outside. We also had whiting, cod, haddock and lsd's. One of the haddock, a nice fish of 3 1/2lbs, had savage bites taken out of it....probably an attack from a big ling. Maybe there are big ling on Ger's mark after all! Pat really did well on this spot. This didn't go down well with Ger who soon took a knife to his line. Too late Ger, it was lines up anyway! A call to the other boats soon confirmed that they had had similar fishing with plenty of whiting and haddock in particular. Many of the whiting were upto 3lbs with Frank Burke managed a fine one of specimen size. Heaviest fish between the other two boats was a fine 8lb cod for Arthur Kavanagh.
What a great day, especially for January. Between the three boats we had managed to catch lsd's, pollack, cod, ling, haddock, ballan wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, whiting, and pouting; a total of 9 species. We had been restricted to mackeral and squid for bait; if we had rag and crab maybe we'd have had more. What harm it was great fishing anyway!